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[BKARTS] Designing poetry books



The Outsider represents an extreme act of publishing and deserves special mention.  Edited and published in New Orleans by John Edgar and Louise "Gypsy Lou" Webb, The Outsider was lavishly (one imagines even maniacally) produced by letterpress with a wide range of interesting and unusual materials.  Yet in spite of its formal sophistication, it still manifests the indomitable spirit of the mimeo revolution by virtue of its devotion to such writers as Charles Bukowski and Kenneth Patchen, both of whom were recipients of the "Outsider of the Year" award.  Other contributors to this "book periodical" were Robert Creeley, Douglas Woolf, Gary Snyder, Larry Eigner, William S. Burroughs, Michael McClure, and Barbara Moraff.

                                                                                                        --Steve Clay and Rodney Phillips
                                                                                                           A Secret Location on the Lower East Side

I saw these for the first time yesterday, and they are absolutely stunning.  To read more about Loujon Press, you might visit : http://web.utk.edu/~lweddle/loujon.html .

I'm also thinking also of San Francisco as a center or region of activity, for example The White Rabbit Press, The Auerhahn Press, and The Zephyrus Image Press would be instances.  Alastair Johnston has written fascinating bibliographies for each - tremendous works unto themselves - published by the Poltroon Press.  The two latter may be more along the lines of fine press printing, closer perhaps to the private press than the Outsider or White Rabbit, which I think have a stronger correlation (as said) to the mimeo revolution documented by Clay and Phillips, while certainly Inge Bruggeman's work would be another exemplary model, exploring & integrating the intricate fissures between the book arts, poetry, and the integrity of the fine press.  So I suppose the question of models/affinities etc. might also be particular to the intention of the publication, cost, distribution, etc.  While the mimeo provided an affordable and the possibility of immediate distribution , artists books or poetry are generally printed in much more limited runs, and are often sold for higher prices, while Steve Clay's Granary Books might be an example of an excellent and innovative publisher working with and between artists books and trade editions. 

All the Best,

Kyle 

P. S.  I don't mean to assign terms retrospectively, (fine press, mimeo revolution, book artist, private press, etc.) but simply appropriate them as problematic generalizations to be read conversationally for the purpose of stratification, to get at the differences, historical/social, etc. without meaning to offer succinct or resolved "categories" as such.

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